Battle of the Words: Loose versus Lose


Two words that cause grammar ailments are Lose and Loose. Obviously, these words look very similar with just one letter being different; however, as you’ll learn in this lesson, these words do not have the same meaning.

In the word Lose, you actually pronounce the S like a Z. This word is a verb and means you do not have something that you previously had (the past tense is Lost). Use it to indicate when you cannot find something and do not think you will be able to find it or get it back:

Regina removes her rings to wash her hands, so she is worried she will lose her wedding band. (Past tense: Regina lost her wedding band.)

If Terrence continues skipping class, he will not only fail Freshman Composition but also lose his scholarship. (Past tense: Terrence lost his scholarship.)

If you put the money in your pocket instead of your wallet, you may lose it. (Past tense: You lost the money.)

On the other hand, the most common usage of Loose is in adjective form, thus it typically is not used in a past tense. And in the word Loose, the S is pronounced like a more typical S sound. Loose means the opposite of tight or bound. Use it like this:

Because a screw was loose, the wheel came off my bike.

Even if you prefer loose clothing, it is probably a good idea to wear more fitted clothes when you work out.

As Nicole leaned over the potato salad, her loose hair fell over her shoulders and dragged through the bowl.

Try to practice the correct usage of these words whenever you are writing.

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Other Word Battles:

You’re versus Your

Their versus There (with special guest They’re)

Affect versus Effect

Then versus Than

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